Friday, 29 October 2010

Impact Assessment Report

Please click here to download our Impact Assessment Report  which outlines our concerns.  Any comments and feedback will be welcome, either email us leave a comment here or on our Facebook group - many thanks!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Phase Two of ACT NOW

The ACT NOW Campaign is set to continue. We are currently working on an Action Plan and the aims and objectives of the campaign. Our primary concerns continue to be the concerns that underpinned phase one of the ACT NOW campaign.

We are committed to fighting to ensure that both the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) benefit assessments are tailored to meet the needs of adults with autism. That it is recognised by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) that adults with autism have impairments with both communication and socialisation and that those impairments will impact on both their verbal and non verbal communication. This includes filling in assessment questionnaires.

We want an assurance that adults with autism will not only be able to access an advocate to assist them in filling in benefit assessment questionnaires but will also be able to accompany them to any medical assessments that might take place. We want an assurance that parents will be allowed to advocate for their adult children. We want an assurance that the DWP medical assessors will be suitably and correctly trained to understand the complexities of autism. We want an assurance that adults with autism will be able to record their medical assessments. We want to know that adults who are not being specifically seen by anyone in the medical profession concerning their autism will be able to access help should they need expert supportive evidence about their condition.

We have opened a new ACT NOW Campaign Page on Facebook and we are asking people to contact us as soon as they are aware that the budget cuts to Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts are starting to affect them or services and provisions in their area. This is going to be a major part of our campaign but one which we know will take many months of information collecting before we can write another report detailing how the budget cuts are impacting within our community.

We will continue to seek assurances that the demise of Primary Care Trusts which are to be replaced by GP consortia will result in ALL GPs being correctly and appropriately trained to meet the needs of all of the patients who are on the autistic spectrum.

We have already asked for a reassurance that Local Authorities will have to record data and publish accurate records of children who are in their area who have a diagnosis of autism. This is in line with the promise that was made by Phil Hope that it would be the responsibility of Children’s Trusts to ensure that they were aware of and record the numbers of children who have a diagnosis of autism so that they can provide for those children and meet their needs. The new Government has stated that it will no longer be mandatory for Children’s Trusts to publish a Children’s Plan and ACT NOW want an assurance that this Government will ensure that Children’s Trusts will have to commit to officially recording data for children who have a diagnosis of autism.

We have so far personally handed out a copy of the ACT NOW Impact Assessment to:-

David Cameron via No 10 (we have a confirmation letter that Mr. Cameron has received our report)
Paul Burstow MP
Maria Miller Minister for Disabled People
Charlotte Leslie MP Chairperson APPGA
Paul Maynard MP
Lord McKenzie
Theresa May MP
Sara Teather MP
Lord Willis of Knaresborough
Stephen Pound MP
Robert Evans MEP

With reports to the following people being sent out by post:-
Iain Duncan Smith
Lord Ashley of Stoke
Baroness Greengross
Baroness Massey
Baroness Morris of Yardley
Lord Adebowale
Lord Parekh
Lord Puttnam
Lord Bichard Lord Laming
Lord Dholakia
Lord Ouseley
Lord Hattersley
Lord Bassam
Baroness Boothroyd

Joint APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) Welfare Reform Meeting

Act Now Founder members Alison Wiles and Sandy Howarth attended the joint APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) Welfare Reform meeting at the House of Commons on Monday 25th October at 5.30pm.
This meeting was wrapped around the benefit assessments and the impact that these assessments would have across all disabilities. Alison and Sandy were able to speak briefly to Maria Miller Minister for Disabled People, who has asked them to write to her personally with ACT NOW’s concerns. We are in the process of doing so now.